(Day 3) Kingtones Memoirs
February 8, 1964 (Saturday)
Being as tired as we were, none of us got up until 11:50 A.M. Since check out time was 12:00 noon, we dressed as quickly as we could and ran out the door to our vehicles with no showers, no shaving, no brushing our teeth, nothing! We didn’t want to pay for an extra night.
Our mission for the day was to go knocking on night club doors, tell them we would like to audition for them, and have them say “come right in, set up on the stage over there….. you guys are Great! You’re hired!” Then we could go find a place to stay and rent it for a few weeks. Well, it didn’t go exactly as planned. Little Richard’s song “Keep a Knockin’ but you can’t come in” started to have a whole new meaning to us. Every club we tried to audition for either didn’t have bands or were happy with the band they had and they wouldn’t even listen to us.
After a few hours of being turned away, we decided to go to Daytona to try our luck. “Clod” (Mike King) read the map wrong and we went way out of our way, adding an extra 50 minutes to our travel time. Adding to our frustration was the fact that we had almost lost Major again.
Daytona had a lot of clubs that used bands. The problems we encountered here were similar to the ones we had in Orlando. They liked the band they already had, and they wouldn’t let us audition. They also had contracts with these bands so they couldn’t hire us even if they wanted to. This was a dilemma we never thought about.
We finally found a club that was going to attempt staging teenage dances. Charlie, the manager, did not have a band yet and was anxious to hear us. In fact, he wasn’t officially even open for business yet. But, he said if we wanted to set up and audition, and if he liked us, he would open the club that night. He offered to pay us $25.00 and said that we could sleep in the club after we were done playing. Since we had little to no money, we figured… hey, $25.00 would help buy gas and some food. And having a place to stay would save us one night’s lodging.
Of course, there was no advertisement for the club and no one even knew that it existed at that time, but you know the old saying, “never look a gift horse in the mouth.” So we set up our equipment and did the audition. The acoustics were not very good and we thought we stunk. Charlie liked us, however, so our first job had been secured.
When it came time to start playing, a few teenagers, who had been walking down the street and saw that this Teenage Nightclub was open, stopped in to check the place out. We played to an almost empty room. Phil had made some equipment adjustments and our sound was half way decent. When we finished playing and it was time for bed, we found out our “bed” was on the floor of the club. To add to this exciting news, Phil had lost his wallet for a short time, giving us all ‘heart failure.’
We were getting along about as well as could be expected considering all of our failures, rejections and disappointments. We were already very tired of traveling. It had been a long day and tomorrow looked like it would be more of the same. Daytona was a great city and we would have loved to have played there, but it looked like we were going to have to continue traveling further south if we wanted to find better work. Maybe we would have better luck in Cocoa Beach. We are going to try that on Monday. As I laid on my ‘nice wooden floor bed, with socks for a pillow and my coat for a blanket, my misery was temporarily relieved as I thought about Chick, my girl friend, back in Michigan.